Commentary from the boondocks. If it makes any sense, it is just by chance. firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, October 14, 2005
The 9th Commandment: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."
This forbids perjury while testifying in a courtroom. In ancient Israel, a person who lied in court received the penalty that would be due a person guilty of the crime at question.
The common meaning of this commandment is unchanged today.
The Westminster Larger Catechism includes the sins of passing unjust sentence, tale bearing, whispering, boasting, etc.
This is a pretty good one that the Emporium crowd thinks should be strictly enforced in the law at every level. Cletus says that he bets that prosecutors and police would be very reluctant to rig prosecutions if they knew that if caught, they got whatever penalty went with the crime. Elroy says he agrees since fairly often you hear of a case where the police or prosecutors pushed for a conviction on manufactured evidence.
The consensues is this is not a religious rule but one that is pretty much universal.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Bubba says finding the Commandments is getting to be a lot easier. Did I mention that when we were boys in Sunday School that Bubba was not the brightest bulb in the receptacle? Now Bubba is pretty smart commonsense wise; it's just that he and books don't see eye to eye. Cletus blames it on the time that Bubba had to walk home from school in the rain because he misunderstood what the teacher said about waiting for the bus at a new spot. Bubba got pneumonia and Cletus says it affected his mind. Bubba allowed how it is better to have an "affected" mind than to not have one at all. Fortunately Elroy started reading what Bubba had written down on number 8 before there was violence. Considering the total mass of the Jones boys (somewhere between Suma wrestlers and mastodons) the old Emporium is grateful to Elroy.
So here is number 8.
8th Commandment; "Thou shalt not steal."
"This Commandment has been interpreted to refer to only one kind of theft; namely, to someone who kidnaps a person, forces him or her to work for him, and then sells him or her into slavery. This, like the previous prohibitions mentioned in the verse, murder and adultery, is a Capital Crime; that is, punishable by the death-penalty."
"Since slavery has now been abolished in North America, this commandment is no longer applicable."
Cletus said he had never before heard that interpretation. It is interesting but not very relevant. The classic American definition of stealing seems to be a better one and it makes a pretty good law. Bubbba said that if we used most people's definition of stealing namely taking that what isn't yours, then enforcement of the law would mean that soon we would be slap out of jail cells and politicians. There was agreement that the second part of that was not a bad outcome but we ain't sure that there is enough money to lock them all up. Cletus said that it was probably cheapest to just let them steal it, spend it as they see fit and cut out the jailor middle man. On to some other stuff Bubba found.
"In modern times, the commandment is interpreted to mean the stealing of any piece of property. This is not directly related to its original meaning. "
The Westminster Larger Catechism includes: "The covetousness; inordinate prizing and affecting worldly goods... envying at the prosperity of others; as likewise idleness, prodigality, wasteful gaming..."
Now that seems like something Roy could sink his teeth into, but then we've heard he is a Baptist and Baptists generally are not Calvinists so he may not go in for that Catechism stuff.
The Emporium consensus is that number 8 is a pretty good law sort of thing but most politicians are not really into strict enforcement and we bet Roy isn't either.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Bubba says he found number 7 to pretty interesting since in its original meaning, it is totally politically incorrect. He even wrote down some notes on what it originally meant:
7th Commandment; "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
This referred to a man engaging in sexual intercourse with a woman who was either married or betrothed to another man.
In ancient Israel, a women was considered property, who was generally owned by her father or husband. If a man seduced a virgin, the transgression was treated as a commercial infraction. The woman would have lost part of her value to her father. Not being a virgin, she might not be able to find a husband in the future, and thus her father could not benefit financially from her marriage. The seducer was required to pay the virgin's father an amount of money, and perhaps to marry the woman. The woman has no say in the matter; some were forced to marry a rapist who they loathed. (Exodus 22:16-17)
None of the Ten Commandments prohibits same-sex relationships. Similarly no commandment or passage in the Hebrew Scriptures forbids a man engaging in heterosexual fornication (i.e. sexual activity outside of marriage) as long as the woman was neither a virgin, or was owned by (i.e. married or betrothed to) another man.
Bubba says that even though a lot of states, including Alabama, have anti-adultery laws, few enforce them. He says that his opinion is that this one is more of a social and religious construct and doesn't make a lot of sense from a law standpoint, but old Roy probably wouldn't agree.
Elroy says he finds it interesting that even when we were youngsters, the Old Testament attitudes still existed. Cletus asked what he meant by that and Elroy said that no one really had any problem with men having sex outside marriage but condemned any woman who did.
The consensus on number 7 is that adultery is not a good thing but Alabama doesn't have enough jail space if Roy decided to enforce the law against it.
Cletus said that maybe Roy had a plan to solve fix our tax system by levying fines on adulterors. Elroy said that would put him in with Dandy Don and Riley--exactly one idea that won't work.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Here we go with the latest in the Compleat Redneck online education series. Cletus says that the response has been so overwhelming that he may give up the woodcutting business and move into education. Bubba said that meant that probably no more than one person has come by to look at our latest drivel since it couldn't be very many or Cletus would look on it as work.
Bubba located number 6 without too much trouble. He said he had to move the curser to the bottom of the window and click to the next page and there it was, right on top.
6th Commandment: "Thou shalt not kill." Elroy said that was a pretty easy one. Don't go around murdering people. Bubba countered that it wasn't quite that simple. Different people have different ideas on what the "kill" part means. As far as he can tell, thou, shalt and not are not disputed. He's not sure how long that will last though.
Cletus said that it seems pretty clear to him that it means illegal killing. Elroy asked him to define "illegal" so that everyone agrees on the definition. He couldn't come up with one that the Emporium crowd could agree on although there was agreement that killing the guy selling meth to the local kids would be okay.
Well folks, we could go on all day, but at least old number 6 looks to have a non-religious meaning although interpretations can take on releigious overtones right fast.
Cletus says he can't see how anyone could have a problem with that part of Roy's Rock but I'm sure there's some who do.
Bubba said he had seen a poll that had Roy running way behind Riley. He thinks maybe he has been over-estimating the stupidity of the average Alabaman. Time and the primary will tell.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Bubba worked through the weekend and managed to come up with this:
5th Commandment "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."
As Southern type Mama's boys, we find that one to our liking, but can't figure out how it could be a law. Bubba says that according to his research, it apparently originally meant to take care of the old folks and not drop them by the wayside when they couldn't drive the sheep and goats any longer. The group of fellers who did the King James translation of the Bible and the Westminster Confessional of the Presbyterian Church expanded this commandment enormously to include all older people, people who are "superiors in gifts," supervisors, managers, clergy, legislators, police, etc. as stated in the Greater Catechism.
Elroy says that if we keep in mind that the Israelites were a tribal people, then the commandment has the meaning expressed by the Greater Catechism in that the family was an extended family not much like what we have in the US today.
Cletus said that Elroy and Bubba were getting a little too deep with their explanations since what we set to do here was to see if the Commandments had ever been the basis for US law. As far as we can tell, not one of the first five was ever incorporated into the Constitution or laws except for some Blue Laws that once existed.
Cletus asked Elroy where he got that Catechism stuff since none of us ever went to a Church that had such a thing. Elroy replied that the Internet is a great and wonderful thing.